Leading figures in the Indian tourism industry have come out in support of the new government’s first budget.
Ankur Bhatia, executive director of the Bird Group, said the budget was “better than expected” for the tourism industry. He especially praised the decision by the government to develop new airports across the country as “a very positive move”.
“I see that growth in aviation sector will come from regional travel which will add the much needed dimension to the industry,” Bhatia said.
The exemption of the tourism sector from service tax was also widely praised. Rajeev Wagle, managing director of Kuoni India, said the move will “surely help [tour operators] tap the potential within the outbound market”.
Another budget announcement was the decision to continue with the previously-announced plan to adopt a new e-visa scheme for international tourists. Madhavan Menon, managing director of Thomas Cook India, called the decision a “pro-tourism move” that would enhance the government’s Incredible India campaign.
“eVisa implementation will certainly bring… India firmly back to favoured nation status and give it an edge over neighbouring competitors; also creating an immediate window of opportunity for the upcoming inbound season,” said Menon.
“The multiplier effect on allied businesses… will augur well for the economy as a whole and we look forward to swift and effective implementation of eVisas.”
The Bird Group’s Bhatia agreed, saying the scheme would also help attract “investments from foreign airlines”.
The new Indian government, under the leadership of Nahendra Modi, has been widely supported by the tourism industry for putting the industry near the top of the country’s agenda.